All this year, Michigan Radio’s Morning Edition host Christina Shockley has been speaking with people from across the state about what three things they think we can all do to help improve the state. It’s part of our series Three Things. Today, we hear from Michigan filmmaker Matt Dunstone.
For his first idea to help the state of Michigan, Mr. Dunstone urges Michigan residents to spend time visiting and learning about those places in Michigan suffering from environmental degradation or pollution. He says, “We need to somehow learn to love these places the same way we do the lake shores and trails. These aren’t what most people naturally tend to want to explore or maybe even visit at first. But I think this could, in the long run, move the state forward by helping forge a bigger sense of community for Michiganders.”
As to what type of action Michiganders can take to help an environmentally damaged area, Mr. Dunstone suggests that residents get involved and attend meetings aimed at addressing specific cases of pollution. “They’re not very exciting,” admits Dunstone, “But it truly is the only way to be on point and at the actual discussion with the people holding the money and the work orders and all the ways that can physically change what’s damaged.”
For his second idea, Mr. Dunstone cites the success of the Kalamazoo Promise Scholarship and suggests that other state issues be tackled by similar funding models. Dunstone explains, “The sense of communal hope this brought to the city was fascinating, and I quickly wondered if other large societal hurdles might be accomplished in this same manner.”
Speaking specifically about environmental problems, Mr. Dunstone says, “For example, the needed multi-billion dollar cleanup of the Kalamazoo River. People who could afford to pool money together contract the cleanup. Then the EPA can sue the polluters up to three-times the cost of that cleanup. The funders get their money back and a healthy profit. Maybe the rest goes into a state fund to help other cleanups.”
Mr. Dunstone’s third idea involves the growing film industry in Michigan. Dunstone asks Michigan residents to “please give the tax incentives for film and video production a chance to establish this industry.” Calling attention to the potential growth in the film industry in Michigan, Dunstone adds, “One hundred twenty-eight million dollars in revenue in 2008. Twice that in 2009. Three hundred fifty-six million projected for 2010. We have no idea what we have here. We’re actually ranked best in the world in something, so I would suggest that maybe we want to hold onto that for a little while.”